After a week of swirling speculation and rampant rumors, Matt Campbell has finally spoken.
Although to Campbell, it was hardly the words that mattered.
“A lot has been said,” Campbell said Sunday hours after his Iowa State football team was selected to play in the Cheez-It Bowl against Clemson, “and I think when you come back to my belief system, it’s really your actions speak louder than your words.For the past six years, I have said and pursued the same actions.
Campbell had been at the center of a wave of speculation about his candidacy for various prominent positions over the past 10 days, from USC to Notre Dame and a few in between.
“Something might open up that is right for the right reason,” Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said on the school’s radio show last week. “If that’s what he wants to do, we should be thrilled because he’s delivered and then some for Iowa State.”
Following:Iowa State football draws Clemson into the Cheez-It Bowl
Campbell, however, remains at the helm of Iowa State and is expected to lead the Cyclones to a program-record fifth consecutive bowl game.
“Creating a program has always been my dream,” said Campbell. “Whether it’s college or high school, for me it doesn’t matter. It was always about people for me. It’s always about the priorities of # 1, my own family, # 2, the people with whom and for whom I work, then # 3, the goal of making a difference in the lives of young people.
“These are my goals and aspirations. I know a lot of people like to put words in my mouth or assume they know who I am or what I’m thinking, but the people closest to me understand my value system and what’s important to me.
The past 10 days haven’t been the first time Campbell has had to question his future in Iowa State, and, if the Cyclones continue on his path, it likely won’t be. not the last one either.
“Whether it’s last week or every day for the past six years,” said Campbell, “I woke up with a passion and action to lead our program the right way.
“It really comes down to your actions speaking louder than your words. We are in a time and place where a lot of people say a lot of things, but your actions are what indicates who you are and what you do.
Are opt-outs coming?
It has become an increasingly common trend to see draft-eligible players withdrawing from bowls to protect their health as they prepare to begin their professional careers.
Iowa State has 21 seniors on its rosters as well as two juniors – running back Breece Hall and defensive end Will McDonald – who have featured prominently on the selection charts.
“The really great, positive thing about me, almost for a person, is whatever the future holds, I think everyone wants to finish this thing,” Campbell said, “and end what has been a great season for our children.
“My expectation is that if there is someone who chooses not to play, we will probably find out within the next five or six days, but I would say that most or the majority of our team will be ready to go. that bowl game and play. ”
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Clemson is no stranger to college football fans having appeared in the last six college football qualifiers and won two National Champions, and their coach, Dabo Swinney, is no stranger to Matt Campbell.
“Coach Swinney has been a great resource for me,” said Campbell. “A few years ago I had the opportunity to come down to Clemson, and for a young coach that I am you are always looking for people in our profession who are doing it the right way and leading with the heart.
“For me it was a transformational experience because of what I saw when I first came to Clemson, the kindness, care, love and passion with which the coach leads and continues to lead. It was a huge eye-opening experience to be able to run a football program the right way. ”
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Swinney, however, said their relationship predated Campbell’s trip to South Carolina.
“The first time I met him we passed each other at an airport,” Swinney said on Sunday. “I was immediately struck by his authenticity, who he is and I admired what he did in a place where it is not easy to go and do what he did.
“We exchanged numbers and he came to Clemson and really from that point on, every now and then he talked, exchanged text messages.
“Just an incredibly brilliant coach, a guy who I think really loves the player and is very serious about winning for sure, but winning in a way that builds great men throughout the process.”
Travis Hines covers sports from Iowa State University for the Des Moines Register and Ames Tribune. Contact him at [email protected] or (515) 284-8000. FFollow him at @ TravisHines21.